Today’s action is to start a small change jar – in aid of any suitable charity – and add to it all through Lent. A very excellent thing to do – even copper coins and 5p pieces add up over time to make a decent pot of money to hand over to somewhere where it can make far more difference that it would have done in our purses.
As it happens, I already have a rule that all 1p, 2p and 5p coins go in our Children’s Society box, but reading today’s task reminded me that for some reason I couldn’t find the box the other day, and I still can’t. This is worrying – not because it means the Children’s Society won’t get their money (they already have – I’ve done a £20 donation in lieu of the box of small change, just in case) but because the box is usually in the front hall, next to the phone, where I see it every time I pass, and therefore remember to check my purse. If the box has been put somewhere else, or if it’s fallen down behind something, or got buried in a pile of junk mail, then this is a Very Bad Sign. It’s a bad sign because it means that just possibly being generous has stopped being a daily (or many times a day) activity.
Someone once told me when I was a member of a church youth club that I should keep my bible out, and not on a shelf, but that I should also pay attention to what gets put on top of it. The idea of this is that the stuff that ends up on top of the Bible, obscuring it from sight (and therefore risking putting it out of mind) is also the stuff that may be getting in the way of my faith, my Christian life. I’m not sure that this is a foolproof way of discerning one’s main barriers to a growing relationship with God, but there must be something in it for it to have stayed with me.
Which brings me back to the Children’s Society Box. I still don’t know where it is. But every day that it’s not in plain sight, right in front of my face, there are 5p, 2p and 1p coins accumulating in my purse (or worse still, being spent by me) and therefore missing their true vocation. They are like the ‘gleanings’ (the spare crops at the edges of the field) that rightfully belong to those who need them more than I do. If the Children’s Society box doesn’t turn up when I tidy up tomorrow morning, then I’m going to start my jam jar. And I’m going to set it going with some nice fat 10p coins. And I’m going to paint it pink, or yellow, or something else that’s so bright and colourful that it will stick out like a sore thumb and make generosity prominent again on our hallway table.
(Oh yes, and it’s well worth checking down behind the sofa cushions – it’s amazing how much money is sometimes lurking there!)